The Amazing Benefits of Work-Life Balance- and How to Achieve It
Work–life balance: a phrase coined to express a lifestyle that has a healthy mix of work, family, social, physical, health-related and pleasurable activities, without extremes dominating one’s experience. It also implies that one’s life is in order.
You wake up after a deep sleep feeling refreshed, energized and excited to start the day. You tend to your morning routine (shower, dressing, kids, dog, making the bed, etc.) with care and appreciation. You make time to enjoy your morning beverage and a healthy breakfast. You spend at least 20 minutes working out— be it walking running, swimming, cycling or floor/equipment exercising.
When you arrive at work (which could be in the next county or the next room), you’re clear minded and focused. You give your best to your tasks, addressing any challenges directly with a positive attitude. You make time in the middle of your day for a healthy meal, and possibly some stretches or a walk. You also address any personal issues—scheduling dental appointments or picking up dry cleaning. By the end of the workday, you feel satisfied that you put your best forward. You wrap up any loose ends, straighten your workspace, and are clear on the next day’s agenda and responsibilities.
You make a clean break from work into your “after work hours,“ which involves sitting down for dinner, socializing with loved ones, and enjoying an activity – be it watching TV, reading, playing with your children, walking the dog, listening to music, etc.
When you retire at your designated bedtime, you easily fall into a deep peaceful sleep, satisfied with a day well spent. Repeat each workday.
Benefits of a balanced lifestyle
Especially if you have children, a demanding job or health issues, a day like the one described above may sound far fetched. Yet it’s well worth your while to take it to heart. Even if you don’t succeed every day (and no one does), over the course of time you will incrementally improve your health, your happiness and your overall enjoyment of life.
Consider each life-affirming component of a healthy work-life balance:
- Family time: It is well documented that families who spend leisure time together have stronger, healthier bonds and a greater enjoyment of life overall. Studies indicate that children’s academic success—as well as their emotional well being— is associated with parents who are present and involved in their lives. Likewise, parents who are active participants in their child’s lives site a deeper sense of meaning and fulfillment. *
- Exercising: Vigorous physical activity for at least 20 minutes everyday not only controls weight and stress levels, it is a mood booster. Most people who establish a regimen of regular, moderate exercise, actually have more energy and clarity of mind (not less). Physical activity also induces better sleep at night.
- Sleep: Getting enough sleep not only helps you feel refreshed and focused, it aids in your body’s daily healing processes and helps prevent sickness. A sleep deficiency, on the other hand, is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and a host of other ailments.**
- Socializing: Too many people neglect their social life for the sake of working late and working weekends. Yet, maintaining social ties and participating in activities with neighbors and friends fosters a sense of belonging and purpose, boosts happiness, reduces stress, and helps one better cope with life’s challenges (divorce, serious illness, job loss, death of a loved one).*** In fact, research shows that those who maintain strong social ties are significantly less likely to experience a cognitive decline compared to those who do not see friends often.****
- Meaningful work: Oh the feeling of a good day’s work! In addition, of course, to paying the bills and affording material possessions and experiences, working challenges us and gives us the means to develop ourselves. It helps instill a sense of pride, value and achievement. It provides a forum to interact with others, helping us build a network of support and resources. Those who work tend to enjoy more enriching lives and have a sharper acuity than those who are not gainfully employed. *****
What if a work-life balance seems impossible?
Of course, certain life situations can make achieving a healthy work-life balance seem near impossible. That’s when you have to get creative and industrious. If mornings are consumed with getting kids ready for school, then do your exercise during your lunch hour. If others rely on you constantly, find ways to give yourself a break sometimes by utilizing community resources, such as kids playgroups or caretaker support. Get smarter and more efficient about how you’re spending your time and cut out the habits and activities that are not serving you well or are zapping your energy.
If it’s your job that’s overwhelming you with long hours, too much stress and/or a frustrating commute, explore ways to make it more manageable. If it’s still unworkable, consider other work options possibly at a different company (preferably closer to your home), or owning your own business and working from home.
Is working from home really an option?
Each year, thousands of professionals across North America opt out of the 9-to-5 rush and opt to be their own boss and work from home, thus cutting out their commute and office politics (and much of the stress that goes with it). Whether it’s freelance writing, graphic art, computer programming or consulting, they are establishing their own businesses and scheduling their own days. After they are established, they find that they can schedule their work around their lives (rather than the other way around), making a healthy work-life balance wholly possible.
One work-from-home option that has become increasingly popular across North America is establishing a call center business by partnering with Arise Virtual Solutions. Arise offers a ready-made platform for Customer Service Professionals to connect with prestigious clients to provide customer service, sales and tech support, including some of the world’s leading Fortune 500 companies. Find out more at ariseworkfromhome.com
With technological advances— including computer-based meetings, file sharing and freelance work sites— entrepreneurs have more resources available than ever before to strike a healthier work-life balance. With some research and determination, you can too. The incentive is a higher quality of life.